Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Falstaff (Chimes at Midnight)

A curious adaptation of several of Shakespeare's historical plays aimed at giving Falstaff centre stage, Orson Welles's 'Falstaff (Chimes at Midnight)' is regarded by some as his masterpiece.  It certainly doesn't suffer from the troubled production it had and that so many of his later films fell prey to.  Also, given his lack of resources, it looks never less than stunning.  The frenetic pace in editing and staging he invests in some of his works, works very well here, and the whole film holds one's attention throughout.  Again it is a beautiful film, beautifully made as well as shot.  However, and not withstanding his iconic make-up, I never felt the love for the character that Welles so obviously did.  Sure, he's a lovable old rogue, but he never seems to be anything other than for himself (Stevenson's Long John Silver somehow manages this selfishness far better) and foolish along with it.  When at the coronation I should have been tearful, instead I was saying, 'What the hell are you doing, you old idiot!'  It may well have been my fault; though I am familiar with the plays, the Shakespearean dialogue often got the better of me.  Whatever it was, and wonderful though Welles' take on the character was, it just did not grab me.  Certainly a high point in his career though and essential viewing for film buffs.

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